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Harris, M. (2011). Chapter Twelve: Towards Learning from Experience in Infancy and Childhood (1978). The Tavistock Model: Papers on Child Development and Psychoanalytic Training, 171-187.

Harris, M. (2011). Chapter Twelve: Towards Learning from Experience in Infancy and Childhood (1978). The Tavistock Model: Papers on Child Development and Psychoanalytic Training, 171-187

Chapter Twelve: Towards Learning from Experience in Infancy and Childhood (1978) Book Information Previous Up Next

Martha Harris

This paper considers questions at the heart of both psychoanalysis and life: the mysterious nature of introjection; how learning from experience is founded on “experience shared”; the problem of “fit” between mother and baby and the “lacunae” that are its impediment; the nature of “holding” not as mere protection but as enabling the child to have “experiences of himself and of the world in a modulating environment”; the developmental force of “realism”, helped by a “matter of fact response to children's nastier feelings”; above all, the inadequacy of theory by comparison with observed individuality, as in the case examples. The author begins by suggesting that a real awareness of the catastrophes of the wider world can improve our understanding of the anxieties of the young child.

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